Friday, March 20, 2009

Spoonful of sugar, big biofuel hopes

Wisconsin start-up Virent to build a pilot facility that would turn plants like sugar cane into gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel.
Fri, Mar 20 09:36:00 PDT 2009 | Read full story

Great Lakes Directory Weekly News Headlines

Great Lakes Directory Weekly News Headlines

Great Lakes Directory Weekly News Headlines

Dear Dan,

The Great Lakes Directory is a comprehensive online resource highlighting environmental issues around the Great Lakes basin. The Directory contains daily environmental articles, a network of over 1,000 environmental groups, funding resources, free environmental software, nonprofit management resources, and a massive library of online Great Lakes environmental information. Find more headlines, action alerts, resources, and free activist software at


March 19, 2009 - House Approves Funding for Clean Water Infrastructure Upgrades: WASHINGTON, DC, A bill that will help bridge the multi-billion dollar annual gap between wastewater infrastructure needs and available funding is working its way through Congress.

March 18, 2009 - Security for wetlands: The State of Michigan needs to give the federal government at least a preliminary head's up by April 1 that it intends to drop its separate wetlands permit program and return control to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (which uses the staff of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to do its field work for wetlands permits).

March 17, 2009 - Updated 3/17: Experts concerned over drops in Lake Michigan water level. Experts say two recent studies could point to a worrisome trend concerning Great Lakes' water supply and demand.

March 17, 2009 - Council seeks IMO standard for ballast water permits: The Superior City Council is adding its concern to the chorus of voices speaking out on a proposed ballast water permit in Wisconsin.

March 17, 2009 - Green power: Harvesting Great Lakes wind and water, Michigan's power plants venture into renewable energy: Holland isn't the only area in Michigan undergoing a power shift - generating electricity that is. Energy providers in urban and rural communities across the state are re-examining how to bring reliable, clean energy into homes and businesses.

March 17, 2009 - Scientists concerned about Great Lakes levels: (CHICAGO) -- Congressman Mark Kirk says climate change and the growing demand for water could dramatically lower the level of the Great Lakes.

March 17, 2009 - Officials push to ban phosphorus in detergents: State officials want to almost completely ban phosphorus in dishwashing detergents and restrict the mineral nutrient in lawn fertilizer to improve quality in stressed New York lakes and rivers.

March 16, 2009 - Milwaukee business leaders hail Doyle's proposed UWM investments: Milwaukee business leaders today hailed Gov. Jim Doyle's announcement that his capital budget will provide $240 million in total bonding over the next six years for University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's building projects.

March 16, 2009 - Judge rejects fish-virus lawsuit Wisconsin, Minnesota groups seek Lake Superior protection: A judge has tossed out a lawsuit filed by conservationists demanding the federal government do more to protect Lake Superior from a fish-killing virus that has invaded the rest of the Great Lakes.

March 16, 2009 - More ships have ballast tanks inspected: A new study by the U. S. Coast Guard has found a 25 per cent increase in the number of ballast tank inspections for foreign ships entering the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system.

March 16, 2009 - Doyle proposes tougher controls on Great Lakes water quality: When Dean Haen, president of the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association, first learned of the state's latest effort to improve water quality in the Great Lakes, he was not impressed.


Contact Information:
Phone: 218-726-1828

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Environmental Association for Great Lakes Education (EAGLE) | 394 Lake Avenue South, #222 | Duluth | MN | 55802

Citizen's Utility Board Presentation Last Night...

Celia & Rebecca of the Illinois Citizen's Utility Board came out to the suburbs to give a presentation on CUB activities & programs, as well as energy efficiency measures last night.

A little background: I'm one of the two Co-Chairs of the Progressive Democrats of Illinois. ( ) I've held this position since 2005. CUB offered via e-mail to do a presentation at one of our monthly meetings, and I gladly accepted.

*It should be noted that CUB is a non-partisan organization*

The presentation given covered such topics as: CUB mediation services in utility billing disputes, telephone billing analysis and plan comparison assistance for both cell and landline services, the new IL law on net metering for home renewable power systems, federal and state credits and rebates for the installation of high-efficiency appliances and renewable energy systems, upcoming smart grid technologies and remote utility management programs for air conditioning systems, demand-rate billing programs, and home electronics power-management. There was more, and several hand-outs outlining these programs.

Additionally, CUB advised us that Illinois has adopted a Renwable Portfolio Standard of 10% by 2010, and 25% by 2025, and is moving to match CAFE standards in California for new vehicle sales in Illinois.

Highly impressive was the removal of system price caps on federal and state tax credits for renewable energy installations such as wind & solar.

All in all, energy and consumer-oriented policies in Illinois are growing up to face a new standard of fairness and sustainability. There is still much more to be done, but these programs represent a great leap forward.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to CUB and especially to Celia and Rebecca for making the trip out to spend the evening with us.

Dan Stafford

Words are the mind's bridge - its connection to all the universe.

Love is the heart's bridge - its connection to all other souls.

Loving words can work miracles.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Broke my ankle a week & 1/2 ago

My ankle surgery was this past Tuesday. From what they told me it was badly broken, but the repair went well. I'll have 8 weeks in a cast & months of PT.